Chris Hellmann celebrates the first of his two goals in a 2-1 win over Thunder Bay. Photo credit: Joe Nalefski
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Sunday, June 29, 2014 – Entering this weekend, the Des Moines Menace and the Thunder Bay Chill shared the lead in the Premier Development League’s Heartland Division. With wins the last two nights at Valley Stadium, the Menace has established a firm grasp of the division’s top spot.
The Menace took down the Chill, 2-1, tonight to earn its first home sweep of Thunder Bay since 2006. One night after Sean Dong assisted Chris Hellmann for the lone score, Dong set up two more Hellmann goals.
Hellmann finished Dong’s crosses in the 37th and 41st minutes. The Menace held on for its fourth straight win – with three straight victories against its arch-nemesis. At 7-1-0, Des Moines is off to its best start since 2003. Defending PDL finalist and regular-season champ Thunder Bay is 5-5-0 a year after finishing 12-1-1.
The team’s leader with 13 points and six goals (all in the last six matches), Hellmann was quick to deflect praise to Dong and his teammates.
“Sean was one of the first guys here, and he really helped welcome me to the team,” Hellmann said. “He’s a good friend, and I think this carries onto the field. It’s not just between us; it’s the whole team. Everyone’s getting along really well, and it shows on the field.”
“I feel like I’m starting to click with the guys,” said Dong. “I’m earning more of their trust. The team’s coming together and we’re ready to finish strong.”
The Menace has enjoyed halftime leads in six of its seven wins, outscoring foes 11-1 in the opening half.
Hellmann nodded home tonight’s first goal. Dong got on the end of Charlie Bales’ through ball, and he worked the left flank. Making a dramatic cut on the end-line, Dong lofted the ball to an unmarked Hellmann, who was 10 yards from the center of the goal.
Four minutes later, Dong put another cross on Hellmann’s right foot. Hellmann surprised Chill goalkeeper Daniel Alvarado with a powerful volley, as the Menace duplicated a 2-0 first-half lead from a 3-2 win at Thunder Bay on June 14.
The Chill pulled one back in the 66th minute, when Simon Cote-Kougnuma brought down a Dominic Roberts cross with his chest. Cote-Kougnuma controlled the ball in the Menace penalty area, and rocketed a volley over Menace goalkeeper Paul Blanchette’s head. This is the only goal the Menace has conceded in four PDL home matches.
Heading into the last month of the season, the Menace eyes its first PDL playoff berth in three years. If all goes as hoped, Mike Jeffries’ team could have the opportunity to clinch a postseason spot in front of the home crowd on July 12 against St. Louis.
First, the Menace needs to extend its streak next weekend at WSA Winnipeg.
MAN of the MATCH: Chris Hellmann, who collected his first brace for the Menace. Hellmann, a native of Cologne, Germany, attends Lynn University (Fla.). In just six matches, he has racked up 13 points – more than the Menace’s team leader a year ago (Shadow Sebele, nine).
UP NEXT: The Menace hits the road for a Saturday-Sunday doubleheader at WSA Winnipeg. The matches start at 7 p.m. at Winnipeg Soccer Complex.
Match: Thunder Bay Chill at Des Moines Menace
Date: Sunday, June 29, 2014
Competition: Premier Development League regular season
Venue: Valley Stadium (turf) in West Des Moines, Iowa
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. CDT
Weather: 80s with some rain in the second half
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
MENACE 2 0 2
TB 0 1 1
MENACE – Chris Hellmann (Sean Dong) 37:00; Hellmann (Dong) 41:00
TB – Cote-Kougnuma (Dominic Roberts) 66:00
Misconduct Summary: MENACE caution: Charlie Bales 71:00; TB caution: Stuart Van Doten 74:00; Declan Rodriguez 85:00
Stats Summary: MENACE / TB
Shots: 13 / 9
Saves: 2 / 4
Corner Kicks: 2 / 1
Fouls: 7 / 20
Offside: 6 / 0
ABOUT THE MENACE: The Des Moines Menace provides the highest level of soccer in Iowa. Entering its 21st season, the Menace men’s side competes in the 64-team United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League (PDL). The Menace’s women’s team played in the 2013 Women’s Premier Soccer League playoffs, after debuting as the Women’s League Soccer 2012 champions. The Menace teams play their home matches in a fun, family-friendly environment at Valley Stadium in West Des Moines. The organization promotes a healthy lifestyle through its popular youth programs, including the Menace Academy (select soccer for ages 9-19), camps, clinics, Junior Menace and tournaments.
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